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Archive for the ‘Court Procedure’ Category

What Happens When You Lie To The Police?



What happens when you lie to the police?


I don’t mean a considered deliberate lie, but a ‘heat of the moment’ panic lie to the police?


We were recently contacted by a gentleman who had crashed his car into a phone box. No other vehicles were involved, no one was injured, no alcohol or other drugs were involved.


To put it simply our client was tired. More than that, he was exhausted. He had been up most of the previous night then all day and had again worked long into the night and now, at 2 am, was finally making his way home. It was dark, he was close to home and all he wanted was his bed. And in that moment, at low speed as he approached the final turn before he reached his home village, he closed his eyes and was gone.  He fell asleep.


He awoke split seconds later when his car hit the phone box.


He was alert enough to ring 999.  He knew he needed to get checked, he knew there was a risk of damaged electrics and exposed wires, of fire from the engine damage. And when the police asked him what had happened, in the heat of the moment and not wanting to say he fell asleep, he uttered the fateful words he came to regret: “I don’t know what happened, I must have blacked out for a second”.


He never wanted to or planned to lie to the police. 


Our client contacted us because his license was revoked for 6 months because the DVLA had been notified that he was experiencing “unexplained loss of consciousness”.


Of course our client knew what had happened, he fell asleep and hadn’t wanted to admit that.


We worked with our client to prepare a case to ask the DVLA to reconsider their position. We reviewed the medical records from the evening and provided specialist reports to the DVLA confirming that our client had been assessed and no suggestion of seizures or other health issues which can cause loss of consciousness had been found. We explained that our client had simply used the wrong words when explaining what had happened.


The DVLA have now invited our client to reapply for his licence.


At Forrest Williams we know that words can be misinterpreted, and that sometimes we use words we don’t realise could make a bad situation worse. We will work with you to make sure that your voice and your story is heard.


If you are experiencing a problem with the police, courts or DVLA then give the Forrest Williams Team a call on 01623 397200. We will listen to your side of the story, we will review the evidence against you and we will work with you to try and obtain the best possible outcome to you.


Don’t Allow CPS Inefficiencies To Affect Your Legal Case



There are many reasons for instructing a specialist solicitor to assist you with your legal case.


An obvious and common one, is that as a lay person you simply don’t have the knowledge that specialists do in this field.  It’s a natural and very sensible decision to turn to an expert who understands the legal system, has the knowledge of suitable defences, and the experience of successfully presenting cases.


Another reason is the fear that many people feel when they realise they will have to appear in Court.  Our clients are always good people with minimal, if any, previous involvement with the legal system.  The reality of appearing in Court is terrifying, and we can make the process faster, easier and stress-free.  In some circumstances we can even appear in Court instead of the client altogether, which is a huge benefit to many people.


There is another reason why you should instruct a specialist solicitor, and many people unfamiliar with the legal world are not aware of this.


The fact is, that as a defendant charged with an offence, you are fighting your case against the large and powerful Crown Prosecution Service.  You are one person entering the legal system, and your case will be at the forefront of your mind.  It is likely that you will feel that the case hands over your head from the first moment you learn of the potential charge, until the final hearing when the case is concluded.


Our clients are often incredibly worried and have difficulty sleeping and eating.  Personal relationships may break down as a result of the case, your job or whole career may be at risk, and the case will be all-consuming.


It is fair, therefore, to expect that your case has similar importance to the people on the other side of the story – the prosecution service.  These are the people, after all, who will be building and presenting the case against you.  They should, surely, be organised and efficient and follow the guidelines set out by the Court – as you will have to as the defendant – to ensure that your case is heard fairly.


While this is the ideal, it is very rarely the reality.


A recent government-commissioned review has revealed that “defence practitioners throughout England and Wales reported problems with the lack of case ownership and morale within the CPS”.


It is certainly an experience that we can also confirm as being the norm, sadly.


Swift progress of a client’s case usually requires daily chasing by us of the prosecution service.  Deadlines set out for them by the Court are often ignored.  Delays are very commonly caused by their inability to review cases ahead of hearings.  Prosecutors often arrive at Court unaware of their cases, certainly without having prepared in advance.  Prosecutors are often agent barristers given no time to read or prepare cases ahead of hearings.


Put simply, anyone defending themselves without representation, will have to not only prepare their case, but also badger the prosecution service to ensure that they are following the procedure the Court requires.


The amount of time and effort that this takes is considerable.


Luckily, with Forrest Williams on your side, all of this work is included in the fixed fee that we quote you for the whole of your case.  We do not charge for every letter or phone call as we do not consider this to be fair – you need to know the total amount that your case will cost.


Facing a charge for a motoring matter is stressful enough.


Don’t increase your worry by trying to manage the case alone.


Get the experts on your side.


We are here to help.


Give us a call now for free initial advice and a fixed fee quote to manage the whole of the case for you.


CALL US NOW: 01623 397200


Does Your Ethnicity Affect Your Access To A Fair Hearing?

Today’s post raises a controversial and hugely important question:

Does your ethnicity affect your access to a fair hearing?

I’ll be honest, it’s a question I hadn’t considered in much detail until recently.

I’m an open-minded person, I’m not racist and I don’t know or associate with people who are racist.  Professionally, I represent people of all ethnicities and, in fact, the majority of my clients are not White British.  It makes absolutely no difference to me or the rest of my team here at Forrest Williams.

You can perhaps imagine my surprise when, a few weeks ago, I was contacted by a new client who needed my help.

This person had received a letter from the DVLA advising that he had to return his licence within 28 days as he had been convicted of speeding, and 6 points needed to be put on his licence.  Furthermore, he had also been fined £700.

Nothing too unusual there; we hear often from people who have been convicted of driving offences in their absence because they have never received the Notice of Intended Prosecution.

What made this case strange was that the Defendant was not our client.  They did not share the same name.  They did not share the same address.  And they did not drive the same car.

Our client had been chosen at random to be convicted of an offence committed by someone else.


Our client was of Chinese origin with a Chinese name.  The Defendant also had a Chinese name, which was slightly similar to the client’s name.

We spoke to the Court about this, and queried how our client had become involved in this.

We explained that his name – Tian Long Cheung* – was completely different from the name of the Defendant – Tao Liang Cheung*.

The Court staff replied; “but they’re similar names, aren’t they?”

As if it was acceptable that our client was having to go through the worry, inconvenience and expense of this situation because his name was unfamiliar to the British legal system.

Fortunately, we finally managed to convince the Court that they should impose the points and fine against the Defendant, rather than a random person with a similar name, but we found the case  and, in particular, the Court’s apparent lack of concern about this, very worrying.

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